Mizzou Heads to Future SEC Foe Arkansas

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Blake Holovach will start Tuesday for the Tigers.</i>
Blake Holovach will start Tuesday for the Tigers.

April 30, 2012

Mizzou (23-19) at Arkansas (31-13)
• Date: May 1-2
• Location: Fayetteville, Ark.
• Stadium: Baum Stadium at George Cole Field (10,737)
• Gametracker: MUTigers.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Media Notes: Series Notes - at Arkansas Get Acrobat Reader

First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will get a look into life in the SEC this week as it heads to Fayetteville, Ark., for a two-game series against Arkansas at Baum Stadium, beginning Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. The second and final game of the series will be contested at 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday (May 2). Of course, this week's series holds significance due to Mizzou's move to the Southeastern Conference next season. Mizzou has already defeated one SEC team in a weekend series this season as it topped Auburn in the opening weekend of the season. All-time, Mizzou is 38-34-1 in all-time matchups against current SEC schools.

Series History • As mentioned above, Mizzou holds a winning record against schools currently in the SEC and a big reason for that is their overall series with the Razorbacks as it leads the all-time series, 28-18-1. The series dates all the way back to the 1904 season when the teams split a pair of meetings. The teams met a variety of times from 1904 through 1917 but did not play again until 1948. The last meeting between the two teams came in 2004 as both played in an NCAA Regional with Mizzou losing to Arkansas, 7-10, in the final game of that regional.

    Mizzou Notables vs. Arkansas
    • The Tigers and Razorbacks have met 47 times but just twice since 2000.
    • Head coach Tim Jamieson has never beat Arkansas at Mizzou, going 0-4 since 1997.
    • Mizzou's last win over Arkansas came in 1991, an 11-3 win, under head coach Gene McArtor.
    • The first meeting between the two schools came in 1904, a 7-0 win for the Razorbacks.
    • 18 of the 47 meetings between the two teams came prior to 1950. MU is 11-6-1 in those games.
    • Since 1950, Mizzou leads the series, 17-12.

Last Time Out • The Tigers lost their fourth straight season series at Texas Tech despite a 9-0 drubbing of the Red Raiders on Friday night in Lubbock, Mizzou lost the Saturday game, 4-3, behind a strong start from Tech starter Duke von Schamann and then was blanked on Sunday. 7-0. Scott Sommerfeld led the Tigers with a .500 batting average in the three-game series and both Dane Opel and Blake Brown homered in the series. Sophomore lefty Rob Zastryzny also threw the Tigers' first complete game shutout in league play since 2009 in the Friday night game. It was his first career complete game.

Rob Z Dazzles Lately
Mizzou Friday night starter Rob Zastryzny did something that few Tigers have done - throw a complete game shutout in league play - last Friday at Texas Tech. He threw 9.0 innings, allowing just seven hits and two walks while striking out five batters. He becomes the first Tiger since Kyle Gibson (now the top pitching prospect for the Minnesota Twins) against Kansas State in 2009 to throw a complete game shutout in league play. It was the first time in his career that he pitching in the ninth inning.

Looking into Zastryzny's last few starts, the sophomore has been very good. If you exclude his start at Oklahoma - which was suspended in the top of the second inning due to severe weather - his last three starts have been as impressive as any pitcher in the conference. In fact, in those three starts (vs. Baylor, Kansas State and at Texas Tech), he is 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA (just four earned runs in 25.0 IP) with 14 strikeouts and a complete game shutout. He has allowed just 18 hits in those 25.0 innings.

Bullpen Impresses
The Tiger bullpen has been very impressive over the last six games as it has given up just three earned runs in that span (24.1 innings), good for an ERA of just 1.12. The highlight of that span may have come at Missouri State last Wednesday when the Tiger pen pitched the final 8.0 innings of an 11-inning game while allowing just one earned run against the Bears. The Tigers also got a very impressive bullpen outing from senior Jeff Emens who went 6.1 innings without allowing a run at Texas Tech on Saturday in a losing effort. He gave up just five hits in the outing. The six-game streak began on April 21 against Kansas State when the pen threw 4.0 innings of shutout baseball.

Emens Continues to Impress
A key reason for the bullpen success lately has been senior do-it-all pitcher Jeff Emens, who continues to have a career-year in his final year in Black & Gold. In fact, over his last four outings, the senior has gone 15.0 innings and allowed just two earned runs (good for a 1.20 ERA). He has 13 strikeouts in that span as well, against just one walk.

Champagne Matches School Record
Despite seeing his streak of reaching base safely end last week, Tiger center fielder Brannon Champagne matched the school record on Friday night before having his streak snapped on Friday. He went 1-for-5 in the Friday night win which marked his 32nd straight game reaching base safely, tying him with Aaron Senne for the school record. Senne completed the feat just two seasons ago in 2010. His streak is the second-best by any player in the Big 12 this season (Texas' Mark Payton reach in 34 straight games earlier this season).

Sommer Time
Tiger junior outfielder Scott Sommerfeld had struggled before the Kansas State series and was actually replaced in the starting lineup for three straight games. After starting on the bench in the Tigers' game at Missouri State last Wednesday, he entered the game as a pinch hitter and delivered a huge hit that eventually led to the game winning sacrifice fly from Andreas Plackis. In fact, since that game, Sommerfeld is hitting .500 (obviously a team-best in that span) with a .643 slugging percentage and a .500 OBP. He has two RBI and two doubles in that span as well. He tallied four-hit night (the first of his career) on Friday night in the Tigers' 9-0 win over Texas Tech.

Plackis Takes Over at First Base
Senior Andreas Plackis was inserted into the starting lineup for the K-State series after an injury sidelined Michael McGraw, who had started the previous seven games at first base. Since that time, Plackis has given the Mizzou coaching staff a reason to keep him in the lineup upon McGraw's return as he is hitting .360 with six runs and five RBI, including a pair of doubles. He is slugging .440 with an OBP of .393 in that span as well (.833 OPS). His .360 batting average in that span is second on the team to only Scott Sommerfeld.

McGraw Out Two Weeks
Michael McGraw had seemed to take over the first base job as the Tigers' top hitter over his last eight games before his thumb injury. During that span - in which he played in seven games, starting six - he hit .370 with 10 hits, a double and six RBI, just two off the team lead in that time. He also slugged .407 (second to only Dane Opel in that span). He will be out for two weeks with his injury (he will have his cast removed following the UT series), but his hot bat will likely earn him plenty of playing time down the stretch.

Jamieson Approaching 600 Wins
With a win last weekend at Texas Tech, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson is now within striking distance of his 600th career win as he sits just six back of that mark with 594 in his career. Now in his 18th season, he is second on Mizzou's all-time win list trailing only Gene McArtor. He is the Big 12's longest-tenured baseball coach (along with Baylor's Steve Smith) and he has been part of Mizzou baseball since 1988 when he was an assistant coach for six seasons under McArtor.

In all, Jamieson has been part of 832 wins at Mizzou including his six seasons as an assistant for McArtor. That number means that Coach Jamieson has been a part of nearly 40-percent of the programs 2,150 wins. To put that into perspective, baseball has been a varsity sport at Mizzou for 121 years. Should he win his 600th career game this season, he would be one of just three coaches (UT's Augue Garrido and Baylor's Smith) in the Big 12 to amass 600 wins at their current Big 12 school and just five to do so in their careers. Mizzou has had just four losing seasons in the 24 seasons in which Jamieson has been involved with the program.

Brown Has Big 12-Best Streak Snapped
Mizzou right fielder Blake Brown had a very impressive streak snapped during the Oklahoma series as his 21-game hit streak came to an end. The 21-game hit streak is the longest by any player in the Big 12 this season and just five shy of the school record (26 by Grant Ingram in 1994 and Shane Fairbanks in 1981). His streak still sits atop the Big 12 this season as no player with a current streak is even within 11 games of his total. Below is a look at the top hitting streaks in the Big 12 this season.

    Blake Brown - Mizzou - 21
    • Alex Silver - Texas - 16
    • Zach Fish - OSU - 14
    • Barrett Barnes - Texas Tech - 13

Opel Heating Up Again
Junior outfielder Dane Opel is starting to swing a hot bat again following his performance over the last two weeks (eight games) in which he hit .286 with six runs, a team-best 10 RBI, three home runs and a team-best .548 slugging percentage. He also owns a .354 OBP over the last eight games. He leads the team with five extra-base hits in that span.

Six Tiger Hitting .289 or Better
Heading into the Tigers' Tuesday tilt against Arkansas, the Tigers have a chance to do something that few Tiger teams have done and that is finish the season with six players batting over .300. Right now, six Tigers are within striking distance of hitting .300 as six are hitting .289 or better. Mizzou has not had a lineup that has finished a season with six batters hitting better than .300 since 2008.

Pleading the Fifth (Inning)
Looking at the stats this season, it is clear that the Tigers have enjoyed the most success in the fifth inning. In fact, Mizzou has scored 34 runs in fifth innings this season while limiting opponents to just 12 runs in that frame, which is their lowest total in any inning. Looking deeper into the runs scored by inning summary, the Tigers appear to like the third-fifth innings, outscoring their opponents, 98-61, in those frames this season.

Brown Eighth in Career Steals at Mizzou
Tiger outfielder Blake Brown stole his 37th career base against K-State earlier, which ranks him seventh all-time in program history. He is now just three back of Ryan Lollis for sixth all-time. Just as a note, Eric Garcia (24 steals) and Brannon Champagne (26 steals) are also threatening to break the career top-10 at Mizzou (two players are tied for 10th with 29 career steals).

Ross Shines Out of Bullpen
Tiger reliever Dusty Ross has been one of the Tigers' top arms out of the pen this season and if you take away a rough outing against Central Arkansas on March 28 (his first time pitching back-to-back games this season), his numbers are very impressive. In fact, since March 10, excluding the UCA game, Ross has a 1.42 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched, spanning 17 appearances. In fact, he has given up just four earned runs over those 25.1 innings and owns a 12-5 strikeout-walk ratio.

Emens Closing In On All-Time Big 12 Top 10
With 91 career appearances on the mound, Tiger senior Jeff Emens is closing in on the all-time Big 12 top 10 in career appearances. He is the league's active leader in that category, two ahead of Texas A&M's Estevan Uriegas (89). In all, Emens needs 14 more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10 (Huston Street, 105). He has appeared in 20 of the Tigers' 42 games this season and is on pace to crack the top 10 should the Tigers reach the postseason. His single season career-best in appearances is 25 in 2009.

Not only that, but Emens' 91 career appearances are the fourth-best total in school history, four ahead of Bunky Moeller (1988-1991). He needs a few more appearances to catch former teammate Phil McCormick (106).

Turner Catches Nearly Every Inning
Senior catcher Ben Turner has caught nearly every inning (332.2 of 368.1, 90-percent) for the Tigers so far this season and will likely continue that pace all season. Turner is tops on a depth chart at the catcher position that includes three newcomers and a redshirt freshman. Although it is early, something to track will be the amount of innings that Turner will catch this season. Since 2004, no Tiger catcher has started more than 54 games (JC Field in 2006) and Turner has started all 18 this season. Turner's 44 starts at catcher last season are the most since Trevor Coleman started 53 games in 2008. Turner has 36 starts at catcher this season.

Gavin Stark Lands on Top Plays
Mizzou first baseman Gavin Stark did something that no other Tiger baseball player had done - earn a spot on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays. In the seventh inning of the Tigers' 4-1 victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday, Stark tracked a foul ball into the OSU dugout and flipped head over heels into the dugout while making the catch. That earned him the No. 5 spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays that night.

Three Tigers Have 5-RBI Games
The Tigers had just one five-RBI game last season (Blake Brown vs. Texas A&M on April 30) but already have three such games this season. Brannon Champagne was the first to so against North Dakota on March 13 and then both Conner Mach and Brown did so the following day against North Dakota.

Preparing for the Future
Mizzou opened its 2012 campaign by taking two of three games from SEC foe Auburn in the opening weekend. The series win for the Tigers holds significance because Mizzou will make the move from the Big 12 to the SEC next season. With the two wins, the Tigers are now 38-34-1 against teams currently in the SEC. It is even more significant as Auburn continues to win in the SEC this season as it is either ranked or receiving votes in several national polls this week.

Jamieson Leads Team USA
Mizzou head baseball coach Tim Jamieson wrapped up his stint as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team head coach last summer. In all, Jamieson led the club to an 11-2-1 overall record. Jamieson's .821 winning percentage this summer is the eighth-best in Collegiate National Team history, which dates back to 1984 (28 seasons). The team's two losses are its fewest since 2008, when the team went 24-0. Mizzou assistant coach Dan Pietroburgo was an auxiliary coach with the team as well this summer.

Anderson Pitches for Team USA
Team USA had another Mizzou connection this summer as well. Tiger junior Eric Anderson was one of the team's top pitchers over the summer. He led the team in ERA (0.00) and wins (two), while ranking second in innings pitched (12.0). He allowed just eight hits and two walks in his 12.0 innings of work and did not allow a run while striking out seven batters. Prior to his stint with USA Baseball, Anderson threw two games with Falmouth in the Cape Cod League, posting a 1.50 ERA.

Tigers Raise Money for Joplin
Mizzou baseball raised $12,796 for the Joplin, Mo., Little Leagues with its Joplin Relief Games against Iowa in the fall. The baseball program partnered with Daniel Boone Little League, the Diamond Council, BC Baseball and The Callaway Bank to create a welcoming atmosphere for fans at Taylor Stadium. The money will go directly to helping Joplin Little League rebuild its fields that were ravaged by a tornado on May 22, 2011.

Plackis Named Mizzou `39
Mizzou baseball redshirt junior Andreas Plackis has been honored by the Mizzou Alumni Association as a recipient of the 2012 Mizzou `39 Award, an award given to 39 seniors at the University of Missouri based of their outstanding service, academic achievement and leadership. Plackis has been a model student during his time at Mizzou and he will graduate in May with a degree in Biological Sciences as he will pursue a medical degree following his undergraduate studies.

Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium Named Field of the Year
Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium, the home of the Mizzou baseball team, was named 2011 College and University Baseball Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). The field is maintained and cared for by Mizzou Turf Specialist Josh McPherson and his staff. The STMA Field of the Year Award program began in 1992. There are five field types for which awards may be given: Baseball, Football, Soccer, Softball and Sporting Grounds. For each field type, awards may be given in three categories: Professional, College and University, and Schools and Parks. This year there were a total of eleven awards presented.

Tigers Have Strong Presence in the Pros
Mizzou baseball has seen plenty of success over the last decade and proof of that is the number of players that the Tigers have sent to the major league. Since 2000, the Tigers have seen 50 players sign professional contracts and 59 Tigers have done so under the direction of Tim Jamieson. Some notable Tigers in the professional ranks include All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers and Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Aaron Crow of the Royals.

In addition, six Tigers were selected in last year's MLB Draft. Newcomers Brandon Platts and Brett Graves were both drafted out of high school. Platts was a 13th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates while Graves went in the 26th round to the St. Louis Cardinals. Matt Stites was picked in the 17th round by the San Diego Padres while three more Tigers - Phil McCormick, Conner Mach and Zack Hardoin - were picked on the second day of the draft.

On the Air
Once again this year, KTGR ESPN Radio is the radio home of the Tigers, with all of the game being broadcast on 100.5-FM and 1580-AM. The games can also be heard online at KTGR.com. Tex Little is in his 22nd season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense, who is in his second year as part of the MU broadcast team.

Mizzou Network
Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2012 is available at mutigers.tv as part of the Mizzou Network. Mizzou Network is the Tiger fans home for live and archived games, along with coaches' shows, press conferences and more. For more information, visit mutigers.tv and click on the Mizzou Network icon.

Up Next
The Tigers will return home after a season-long six-game road trip as the Texas Longhorns come to town for a three-game series, beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at Taylor Stadium. There will be plenty of promotion for the three-game series as it is the second-to-last weekend home series for Mizzou this season. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.



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